So it’s 2017 and the number of travel bloggers have radically increased since I wrote the first version of how to get a complimentary stay as a travel blogger. Hotels have acquired knowledge on how to assess the relationship of a blogger and their audience through an effective and easy metric system. They are slowly educating themselves to be able to see the return on investment if they are to give a complimentary stay to travel bloggers.
It used to be so easy. I’ve been working with hotels for years but I still find it very difficult to close a deal. Even if I have decent following on social media and a good Google ranking, I still have to put my best foot forward. I had to change my pitching techniques, analyse my methods and choose the best system that works.
I used to create content for hotels just to get it over with but when I entered the world of full-time travel blogging, I vowed to myself to always do my best when working with brands, most especially hotels. Hotels are never out of the travel picture – they are always there even if travel gets out of trend or reach its point of extinction.
Through endless analysation and experimentation, I would like to share to you what works when it comes to getting a complimentary hotel stay as a travel blogger – a method that I have applied about 4 months ago.
As the digital world evolves, attention span decreases. The subject I was using before was too long (so much that it exceeds the Gmail line, you won’t even read the whole subject at first glance). Email subjects should be short and straight to the point. Hotel people are usually busy with so many things so if they don’t deem your message important, tendency is it will go straight to trash.
You might ask why I use “Travel Journalist” instead of “Travel Blogger.” The truth is, no matter how aware the world is about travel bloggers, they still don’t understand the value of working with us. Many people still don’t understand that this is a full-time job and deserves compensation. If I put travel journalist (which is technically another term for travel blogger), it looks more professional to them and they will most likely be interested in reading the email.
I know “hey there!” is so fecking informal but the salutation where you have to change the hotel name every time you are mass sending always gets me in trouble. The copy/paste thing is a real killer so if you want to make things simple, “hey there” is the key.
“Hey there!” sucks but it’s personal. It’s short and saves you time. In some instances, remember that hotels post the email address of the Marketing person (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org) so if this is available, always bear in mind that addressing people with their first names is more personal. It gives them a sense of respect and it makes them feel that the email is really for them so they should read and answer it.
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I used to have a detailed (100 word) paragraph about what my blog is all about but I realised that nobody is actually interested in that. Hotels are more particular with numbers, with achievements so instead of putting effort in introducing my brand, I now go straight to the trophies:
“I am Trisha Velarmino, a travel journalist and I run the popular adventure travel blog P.S. I’m On My Way (don’t forget to link the anchor text of your blog name) and I’m writing to you today about featuring your company in a digital travel magazine with an extra online (social media) exposure. I am also a top reviewer on TripAdvisor and have written for platforms like Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, BBC, etc.”
This is short but it gives them a better understanding of who and what you are. I also realised that if you copy/paste the “about” page of your blog as an intro, they won’t click your blog link anymore. They won’t be curious and won’t find it interesting to know more about you.
Give them a reason to click.